Refined Knits: book review and yarn give-away
Refined Knits: Sophisticated Lace, Cable, and Aran Lace Knitwear is a new book by Jennifer Wood (recently published by Interweave), which includes our Messa di Voce as the suggested yarn for one of the sweater projects. Jennifer was kind enough to arrange for us to receive a review copy of the book, and I've been enjoying having it out on my coffee table the last few weeks (along with a couple of other Interweave publications). It's a beautifully put-together book, full of knitting inspiration.
Elizabeth has been working with Jennifer for several years as a technical editor for her self-published patterns, and we've collaborated on a few projects before. Jennifer designed Morisot for our Sweater Club a few summers ago, and another of her designs is included in our current Shawl Club. Her work is always beautiful, and when she asked us about yarn for this book I happily put a couple of skeins in the mail for her, excited to see what wonderful pattern she would produce with it.
And of course, I was not disappointed! Victoria is a graceful pullover with delicate lace details and a very flattering neckline.
In fact, the whole book is a reflection of Jennifer's thoughtful attention to detail. It is divided into three sections: Enduring Cables, Graceful Lace, and Elegant Aran Lace. Each section includes patterns for beautiful and also very wearable garments and accessories. I love that Jennifer shares her inspiration for each pattern, and even lists stitch dictionaries and other sources of reference at the back of the book.
She is also very generous with tips and techniques, from detailed construction diagrams and instructions on cabling without a needle to a whole page of insight into the math needed to modify the Louisa cowl pattern to fit your own yardage or personal style.
Speaking of which, I did find that the outfits and styling chosen for the pattern photos are very far from my own personal style. The models look lovely, but I definitely needed to look past the hair and makeup to see how these garments could work in my wardrobe. One of my favourite pieces in the book, the Keavy sweater, is something that I would love to own - I just might need to knit one for myself. I'm much more likely to pair it with jeans though!
One small criticism of the book is that, for all the information that is provided, there isn't much detail about choosing a size or determining fit for the sweater patterns. In fact, the same model is shown wearing three different sweaters, with finished bust measurements of 28 3/4", 36", and 40 3/4". They all look great on her, but were obviously designed to be worn with different amounts of ease. I'm sure many knitters would find it helpful to have a bit more information about the how the garments are intended to fit when picking a size to knit.
I do know that Jennifer has a very active group on Ravelry (Wood House Knits) and will be running KAL's for patterns from the books, so I'm sure that if you have any questions about the fit she would be happy to give guidance.
Overall though, I think this is a gorgeous and very thoughtfully assembled book and we're quite thrilled to have our yarn in it. I'll hopefully find the time to knit at least one or two of the sweaters (Willa is another favourite), but it also serves both as a resource for techniques and as an inspiration for combining shapes, construction, and stitch patterns into beautiful patterns.
Now that you've read your way through all that, maybe you're wondering about the yarn give-away? Well, we're giving away 3 skeins of Messa di Voce, enough to knit the Victoria pattern in any size. To enter, simply comment below and let us know which colour you would choose if you win! Contest closes at midnight EST on Wednesday March 16.
Contest is now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated, and congratulations to our winner, Mary, who will be receiving three skeins of Cardamom as her prize!
Georgian bay would look stunning. The whole book is beautiful the only issue is which to cast on first??
The Café au Lait colourway would be amazing.
I think Georgian Bay would show this pattern off quite well. This is a lovely book of patterns!
I’d choose Graphite. Thanks for the lovely giveaway!
O this is a beautiful pattern!
Yarn colour in case I would win (I’ll never win) is Cardamom
Keeping my fingers crossed. Good luck everyone.
Moonshadow is just too beautifull!
Wow! All your Colors are so beautiful!!! But I just fall in love with Moon Shadow! Hope I will have the chance to try it soon!❤️
Such gorgeous patterns (and yarn!). If I won, I’d pick Moon Shadow. I love the jewel tones.
So many gorgeous colours! Chimney smoke is my favourite.
Georgian Bay is my favorite, but they’re all so lovely! Thanks for the giveaway!
Georgian Bay is my favorite, but they’re all so lovely! Thanks for the giveaway!
Canneberge is gorgeous! So is the pattern.
moonshadow is a winner for me!
Gorgeous colors and my favorite is Moon Shadow.
Love the lace detail. The colours are awesome – love the Emerald City and Cardamom is especially gorgeous!!
I just love love this book. I could knit everything in it. My absolutely favorite would be done in the graphite.
That graphite is gorgeous but I love that Georgian Bay! This is a top I’ve admired for a couple weeks now. Thank you for the blog post and the link to the ravelry group! :)
I love the Moonshadow color- such a beautiful deep blue!
Love love this pattern! I would love to make it in Canneberge.
That sweater is gorgeous and looks like a fun knit. If I were the winner, I would pick Emerald City so that I could wear the sweater next year for senior night for my youngest.
It’s a tough choice! Hot Cocoa is lovely, as is Graphite, but I think I’d need to go with Steel Rail Blues!
I’d pick Graphite. Such a beautiful gray!
I have to admit, it’s difficult to pick just ONE color as a favorite when there are so many rich, vibrant colors to choose from. But, if I had to, I’d pick Georgian Bay as the absolute top-choice.
Victoria is already in my queue and I would love to knit it in the Deep Purple or Cardamom, I feel either would show off the lovely lace pattern. Congrats on a lovely collaboration!
The Steel Rail Blues is beautiful!
I’m all about the graphite!
I’d pick Cardamom. I love some of the other colors and their names (especially Blood Orange) but I don’t wear such warm colors very well.
I think it would be stunning in Canneberge & would welcome the chance to make it so! Thanks for the opportunity. :)
They are amazing Colors. And like everyone the graphite is my favorite!!!!
What a lovely looking book. The yarn colours are fantastic. At first glance I went straight to the Graphite, but the Hot Cocoa has definitely caught my eye.
Oh! so beautiful. I would be devided in between café au late or chimneysmoke for such an elegant sweater!
Love lI’ve love Georgian Bay or Graphite!
Michelle J. Iseman
My favourite is Canneberge.
Georgian Bay for sure!
All are stunning but I’d choose Graphite!
Moon shadow is my favorite. But they are all such pretty colors.
I think Victoria would be stunning in Canneberge, so that would be my first pick. Thanks for the book review, all the patterns are gorgeous, and for hosting this giveaway!
The pattern is gorgeous, if I won I’d make it in Graphite.
The patterns are all so lovely but Corinne and Victoria are the most beautiful in the book. I´d love to knit Victoria in Steel Rail Blues.
Steel Rail Blue for me.
It’s a hard decision, but I guess I’d choose Graphite.
Steel Rail Blues (or Chimney Smoke – it’s hard to choose)!
What a gorgeous pattern – and collection and yarn. Hard to choose, and after careful consideration, Georgian Bay. Fingers crossed.
Hard choice, they are all lovely; I think cafe au lait just wins though.
KisForKnitting on Rav
All beautiful, but have to stay with my love of purple: Deep purple is my wish.
Moon Shawdow, Moon Shawdow,
Ah, such a hard choice, but I think I would pick Moon Shadow.
I really like a lot of the patterns in this book. If I won I would pick the deep purple colorway – thanks for giving me the opportunity.
Blue blue blue, is there any other color? ! So Moon Shadow it is ♥
Steel Rail Blues. Love it!
I love Chimney Smoke!
Beautiful book and wool!
What a super prize! And how hard it is to pick a colour when they are all delicious – looking! I want them all, but if I to choose one, then Canneberge.
So many gorgeous colours! If I have to choose only one, it would be Georgian Bay though.
knittingdancer on Raverly
I like Moon Shadow.
I love the combinations of colors, but if I had to choose one, it would be Georgian Bay. I like the color variations in it.
I really love the Canneberge. And thank you for introducing me to both the book and yarn. Both seem absolutely lovely!
I just purchased this book and found these patterns to be amazing! I love knitting lace and cables and have been looking at the patterns on Ravelry and Pinterest and had to have the book. If I were lucky enough to win I would have to pick the Chimney Smoke color. All the colors are fabulous, so it was a hard choice.
I’m a gray-lovin’ gal so Graphite has my heart. Thanks for the generous giveaway!
Canneberge all the way! Messa di Voce comes in so many lovely colours – the blues and greys especially – but I can’t deny being drawn back again and again to the red. What a neckline, what a color!
I would make this sweater in deep purple.
I’d live to knit Victoris in Blood Orange :)
That is just such a gorgeous sweater, and your yarns are just lovely, as always. My top contenders are Moon Shadow and Deep Purple.
I had to think on this one for a few days, but I keep coming back to Crushed Chili. Every colorway is so lovely and I’ve had my eye on the Victoria pattern for weeks!
I showed my sister the Victoria pattern and she loves the delicate lace pattern and overall classic look of the sweater. She loves red so canneberge
Wow! The colors are positively SUMPTUOUS!!!! But, since I have to choose a color….. first choice… Moon Shadow. Second choice….. Georgian Bay. There is a reason for choosing these. You see, all my life, I have refused to wear blue (bad experience with Nova Scotia plaid school uniform?) I recently retired from a 34 year career as an elementary teacher, and my goals now are to try something new. So, if you take your beautiful shawl, this gorgeous yarn, then, a stunning addition to my wardrobe in a brand new color!!!
I am so looking forward to seeing this book; I love what I have seen of the patterns on Ravelry. Many of them are very wearable designs no matter what your shape and size.
I love the lace detail in the Victoria sweater and I would choose Hot Cocoa to knit it up.
All of them looks so gorgeous! If I had to choose, it would be Deep Purple. Thank you for the great giveaway!
All such beautiful colors! I LOVE moon shadow!
Canneberge is stunning, so that’s what I’d pick. :)
I love all of the colors but orange is my favorite, so I would make Victoria out of Blood Orange.
Such beautiful colors all of them! Graphite stole my heart.
I would love the red one, it is so beautiful! :)
Lovely pattern. I would have to choose Graphite. Such a gorgeous colour!
All the colorways are gorgeous, but I think I would have to go with graphite.
Gorgeous yarns. I would love love love to knit this sweater in cardamon.
I would love to knit Victoria in Jacaranda. It is such a lovely shade of purple!
I would love steal Ray blues or chimney smoke. All the colors are gorgeous!
I am tempted to say: surprise me! But if I have to chose it will be between Steel Rail Blues or Graphite. Betweeen these… well, i guess it’s graphite.
I can’t choose! They are all so pretty. I think graphite or cardamom.
I love the Cardamom, it’s awesome!
Beautiful yarns and what a beautiful sweater. After a lot of back and forth, I’d like to knit it in the lovely Moon Shadow. (Now the old Cat Stevens song is in my head for the rest of the day.)
This looks like a great collection, I’ll have to check it out. I’d love to knit it in Deep Purple.
Jennifer is such an inspiration and I hope someday to be as successful as her! Perhaps someday, lol. I would choose Cranberry, Georgian Bay or Harvest Moon. I adore all the colours though. So many colours and ideas!
I love this book! So many beautiful patterns, and the Victoria is just gorgeous. I can’t wait to knit it! As difficult as it is to choose from so many lovely options in the Messa di Voce, I think I’d have to go with Emerald City.
This book contains so many patterns that are absolutely gorgeous…very classy. Victoria is on my list, along with a few others. I was so impressed by them all and hope that I will soon have time to knit one. I like jewel toned and monochrome yarns, like the deep red, deep purple or charcoal shown in the picture.
This book contains so many patterns that are absolutely gorgeous…very classy. Victoria is on my list, along with a few others. I was so impressed by them all and hope that I will soon have time to knit one. How long did it take to create the patterns and put it together? I like jewel toned and monochrome yarns, like the deep red, deep purple or charcoal shown in the picture.
I would want to win Emerald City!
Beautiful yarn and pattern…if I were lucky enough to win, I would choose Chimney Smoke – such a pretty silvery grey!
Thanks so much for this opportunity!
Yummy colors, I love Moon Shadow!
Canneberge would be an amazing colour of sweater to have!!
Georgian Bay is beautiful!
Wow. I can’t decide between Canneberge and Chimney Smoke. Beautiful. And I totally agree about the makeup/hair/styling in the pictures you showed… not my style either but I do love the knits!!
I just can’t make up my mind, there are so many beautiful colors. This is the last time I look at the colors and my final answer is Georgian bay. Thank you again for this giveaway.
I would choose Cardamom :) All of the colours are absolutely gorgeous though.
I ordered the book this weekend, and can’t wait for it to arrive. My first colour choice would be Moon Shadow, though all the colours were lovely! Cardamom would be nice, too.
That is a really tough choice, but I think I’d go with Graphite.
Deep purple and cindersmoke are my favorite colorways.
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Getting to know Catherine from The Small Bird Workshop
Fifteen Years of Sweet Paprika!
This year we're celebrating Sweet Paprika's 15th anniversary, and it's honestly been a bit hard to get my head around where the time has gone! We've been looking back through some of our old photos, and thought it would be fun to share a little retrospective here. Our little business has come a long way in the past 15 years!
Most of the images I'm including are not our polished product photos (although those have also come a long way since the early days), but more of a behind-the-scenes look at some of the memorable stepping stones along our journey.